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NEW DELHI: In the first green shoot for the Indian film business since the second covid wave, Telugu film SR Kalyanamandapam opened well, making 3.5-4 crore over its first weekend. The romantic action film has been directed by Sridhar Gade and stars Abbavaram, Priyanka Jawalkar, and Sai Kumar in lead roles. It especially benefited from the 100% capacity rule in Telangana.

In comparison, Hollywood action adventure The Suicide Squad managed a 1.75-2 crore opening weekend. Good news has also come from the Punjabi film industry where a new film Tunka Tunka collected around 80-85 lakh over the first four days with 50% of the overall business coming in on Sunday and centres like Ludhiana and Chandigarh performing especially well.

To be sure, even after the first covid wave, south Indian cinema was the first to start rolling out money-spinners as big films stuck to their release dates in contrast with the Mumbai film industry which had continued deferring releases as covid cases rose and restrictions were imposed in the Hindi speaking markets, adding to its losses.

While Tamil films Master and Sulthan, and Telugu offerings such as Uppena and Jathi Ratnalu set the cash registers ringing soon after theatres were permitted to reopen, the month of April had seen big films such as Dhanush’s Karnan and Pawan Kalyan’s Vakeel Saab hit the screens even as the north Indian film industry battled crises caused by delays.

The strong theatre-going audiences and fan culture in the south had aided better recovery for its film industry. With big films maintaining schedules, viewers were able to keep up their consumption habits, according to trade experts.

It had helped that southern cinema is less dependent on international markets, many of which hadn’t reopened until earlier this year, than Bollywood and could bring content out, banking on loyal audiences in its home state alone.

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